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  • Writer's pictureHannah Marsh

Unknown Territories

The blank page.

The walk into unfamiliar woods.

The moment you begin to speak, not knowing how your words will be received.

The events of tomorrow.

This new moment, right now.

What comes up for you as you consider these unknown territories? Perhaps sensations in the body: tightness in the chest, a sinking stomach, a smile, or a neutral feeling. Perhaps emotions: fear, excitement, curiosity, or trust. Perhaps thoughts: "Ugh, no thank you!" or "Neat!" or "What's she getting at?"

In last month's class, we considered each moment as a new beginning. Some of you noticed that a beginner's mind can open our senses, allowing us to take in what we might otherwise miss. It can help us let go of expectations and judgements, making it easier to see and accept our experience as it is. In our lives and creative process, it might help us step out of our routine ways of being and seeing to discover other perspectives. It might help us worry less about making mistakes, encouraging a sense of play and discovery. One thing we didn't delve into, however, is how this way of approaching our experience - as if for the first time - is also full of uncertainty. We don't know what will happen next.

Uncertainty can show up in different ways. It might show up as excitement and curiosity, as when reading a book, eager to see how the plot unfolds. Or it might show up as anxiety or dread, such as when we find ourselves in pain without a known cause. With creativity, I have found that uncertainty can be both a blessing - leading to the joy of discovery - and a curse. I don't know where I'm going, how long it will take, or how it will be received. In this space of not knowing, doubt creeps in. The inner critic leaps at the chance to speak.

So how do we meet uncertainty? How might we approach its challenges?

In our next Mindfulness & Creativity session, we'll explore these questions through our mindfulness practice and a creative exploration. We'll start by noticing how uncertainty shows up for us. Then we'll consider how we can support ourselves through the unavoidable uncertainties of creativity and everyday life.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!



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